Welcome to Week 2 of my ruminations at Plot 15
New Year came in with a pleasant even warm day here on the South Coast the birds sang and even the sun made a rare appearance, sadly although quite warm after that it has been very hit and miss with low cloud or heavy mist and drizzly rain which seems to soak every thing for most of the time only occasionally interspersed with the odd dry interval. During one of these intervals I bought my early potatoes and this year’s onions and shallots in readiness for the planting season.
However there are signs of new life coming through with daffodil bulbs emerging on the boarder edges helping us to look forward to the spring. I have also been able to get a few hours of weeding in preparing the beds so there is less work in the busy planting months ahead.
Planning for 2013
Always starting the year full of good intentions to do everything in a timely manner, reality then takes hold with limited time period to work the plot and the weather being the most important factor in what you do.
During the first part of January I try and plan the coming year the best I can what I’m planting where and when. Checking things like, ‘Do I have all the seeds I want for the year?’ ‘Do I have enough room on window sills or in the cold frame and mini green houses to look after them?’
I seem to have accumulated a fair collection of seeds bought as multi packs or on 'special offer' or a give away on magazines. I tend only to by parsnips and sweetcorn every year as these never seem to germinate very well from old seed. Most seed will keep for 2-3 years and most of brassica and gourd families last 5-6 years. To make my life a little easier I place them in to boxes marked with each month when they will need planting. Why is March so busy? :-)
On the plot 3 out of the 6 beds are clear ready for planting over the next few months while the others contain our over wintering crops. None of the 6 beds have the same crop as the previous year; we have a 6 year crop rotation cycle which is designed to keep the soil nutrient value balanced and prevent any pests or problems from becoming established. I know 6 years might seem a bit extreme but with 6 beds and the variety of crops we want to grow it’s the most convenient.
This year the beds will be as follows
Many would think carrots should be with the other roots in bed 5 but we have to protect them with the sweetcorn in a frame from the local badger. (More on this in a later Blog).
My son has announced in addition to the usual plants he grows on his 2 beds he would like to try and grow Sweet Potatoes this year.
The Gourd Bed will be dug out and last years compost placed around the fruit bushed to give them an extra boost, this will then be refilled with fresh compost from a local stable.
This year I will try and collect seaweed washed up on the beach once rinsed this will be placed on our asparagus bed as a slow release fertiliser. I have checked with one of the local council rangers, who know these things, and he has confirmed it is legal to collect in small quantities.
Sowing and Planting
Even though it has been quite wet I have still been able to prepare some of the beds ready for planting by clearing any overwintering weeds that have appeared. During this I have discovered a few garlic which were missed last year they have been potted up and placed in the cold frame until this years bed is ready.
Fruit and Veg on the Menu
(Freshly picked or from our stores)
|This week we have started harvesting the Leeks which have grown very well considering the conditions over the last few months.We have decided to dig up and freeze all the parsnips as they are starting to suffer from canker which we think was caused by a caterpillar attack last year.
The chard and brussels sprouts are picked when required.
From the store we are using up our onions and shallots and working though the sack of King Edward potatoes. From the freezer this week we have had french and runner beans.
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